Spotlight on: Evelyn’s Support
At the end of last year we asked Small Good Stuff members about some of the challenges they faced in their everyday work, as well as some of the positive experiences they’d had during Covid. As part of this consultation, we sent out a survey to gather more details about how we can help lobby wider support for Small Good Stuff members and community enterprises – survey entries were included in a £50 prize draw and we’re pleased to announce the winner: Evelyn Honywill from Evelyn’s Support.
Evelyn shares her journey into self employment and setting up her own community enterprise below…
Evelyn Honywill set up Evelyn’s Support over 2 years ago and since then her community enterprise has gone from strength to strength.
“There is no end to what I try to do for people. I get asked if I can do?? I always say, if I can I will, if I can’t I’ve tried. And if I can’t, I will try to find someone who can…I don’t like leaving a problem unsolved.”
Prior to setting up her community enterprise, Evelyn worked in different care homes across Taunton in Somerset for 18 years, primarily with adults with learning difficulties. She originally heard about becoming a ‘micro-provider’ and setting up a community enterprise through a friend. At the time Evelyn didn’t quite feel ready to set up on her own.
“After a few years [my friend] kept asking me to join her as a ‘micro-provider’, I didn’t have enough courage to leave secure employment with benefits. Every time [my friend] asked me I said I’m not ready.”
In August 2017 Evelyn had an operation on her foot which meant she was off work for 6 months. The time off provided an opportunity for her to rethink her career.
“Whilst I was recovering I had time to think about my future. I did lots of e-learning and I downloaded my certificates…I got all my paperwork in order.”
During that time, Evelyn was in touch with Somerset County Council and Rhys Davies, her local Community Catalyst, who helped her set up her community enterprise.
“I gave my resignation to my manager at the end of January 2018 and left in mid-February. I started as a ‘micro-provider’ in March 2018.”
Evelyn really enjoys running her community enterprise and finds the work particularly fulfilling, with every day different to the next.
“I absolutely love supporting people in the community, enabling them to live in their own homes…One couple said to me this week “I don’t know what we would do without you”. I feel so blessed just by doing my job! I’m making a difference to people’s lives, that makes me very happy.”
Christmas is a particularly favoured time of the year for Evelyn and the people she supports, even more so over the recent Christmas period with the current pandemic.
“People love me going in to see them this time of year because I always dress up at Christmas. It makes them smile and when they are happy it makes it all worth while. I have a Mrs Santa and Christmas 🎄 tree outfits which I wear for Christmas…I look forward to seeing their faces, it makes me smile.”
And it’s not just about the people Evelyn supports, since setting up her community enterprise she’s become part of one of the local networks, Taunton Trusted Providers, along with other community enterprise leaders and ‘micro-providers’ who support each other.
“It’s also beneficial being on the [Council] register [and Small Good Stuff directory] because I have had people contacting me direct [through those]. If I can’t help, someone else from the network maybe able to.”
You can find out more about Evelyn’s Support on her Small Good Stuff listing here.
Small Good Stuff is a free membership website for small organisations and community enterprises who offer care and support. Small Good Stuff members get access to an extensive resource library, peer networking and a listing page on the directory. Find out more and sign up here.